Newly Ordained AOP Graduates 2018/5778

On January 7, 2018, in a ceremony at the 20th annual OHALAH Conference, the ALEPH Ordination Program ordained eight rabbis, three hazzanim, and a rabbinic pastor. From right to left: Hazzan Sarah Beck-Berman, Rabbi Jason Mann, Rabbi Ken Rosenstein, Rabbinic Pastor Cantor Lisa Levine, Hazzan Randall Miller, Rabbi Betsy Eve Roth, Rabbi Esther Azar, Rabbi Elias David Curiel, Rabbi Jessica K. Shimberg, Rabbi Ellen K. Triebwasser, Rabbi Zelig Golden, and Hazzan Jessica Leash. (photo by Victor Arango)

Rabbi Esther Azar, New York, NY. Esther has a Master in Social Work from Yeshiva University and trained with the New York Institute of Psychotherapy Training. She is Director of Family Engagement at Congregation Shaare Zedek in New York and founding collaborator of Rei Emet: Mirror Truth, a start-up community in New York. Esther began her Renewal experience as a member of Romemu, where she quickly became involved in their Hebrew school, teaching and designing a multisensory curriculum for spiritual Jewish education. She is a published writer, visual artist, and teacher for all ages. Her two children are a constant inspiration and guides for her work.

Hazzan Sarah Beck-Berman, Petersburg, VA. Sarah earned her B.A. in Religious Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. She has served as cantorial soloist and religious school teacher at Congregation Beth Ahabah in Richmond, and more recently as B’nei Mitzvah coordinator and clergy intern. Upon ordination, Sarah has become Beth Ahabah’s full-time cantor. Sarah enjoys speaking about Jewish music and culture in her local community, including as guest lecturer for VCU. Sarah looks forward to practicing what she has learned in ALEPH, interpreting and communicating Jewish prayers and teachings with meaning, spirit, joy, and depth.

Rabbi Elias David Curiel, Somerville, MA. David is the founder and spiritual director of Asiyah Jewish Community, a prayer community and wisdom café in Cambridge and Somerville. Most recently, he interned for two years at Romemu in New York under Rabbi David Ingber. He has served as teacher at the Kesher After School Hebrew School in Somerville and the Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue in Jamaica Plain, where he also cofounded Havurat Lev Shalem. He holds an M.B.A. from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and has studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and the Shalom Hartman Institute. He was ordained mashpia by AOP’s Hashpa’ah Spiritual Direction Program in 2017. David is blessed to share his life with wife Amberly and daughter Dafna.

Rabbi Zelig Golden, Occidental, CA. As Founding Director of Wilderness Torah, Zelig has guided groups into the wilderness and trained Jewish leaders worldwide on earth-based Judaism. He also conducts lifecycle events and provides spiritual direction. Zelig was ordained maggid by Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi ztz”l on Lag B’Omer 5771, and as mashpia when he graduated from AOP’s Hashpa’ah Spiritual Direction Program in 2017. As an environmental lawyer, he was part of a landmark Supreme Court case that won protection for food and farms. Zelig has a Master in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union and is a recipient of the prestigious Wexner Graduate Fellowship.

Hazzan Jessica Leash, Watsonville, CA. Jessica was trained as a singer at Ithaca College, where she majored in vocal performance. After a career in sales and marketing she returned to classical singing, studying at the vocal studio of Shari Anderson in New York. While enrolled in AOP’s Cantorial Program, she worked as a cantorial soloist, earned a degree in theater arts, and maintained an active schedule as a classical soloist and concert artist. As an independent cantor, she brings her unique voice and performance skills to the Silicon Valley. She strives to help others deepen their connection to their own self-expression in Judaism through liturgy and voice.

Rabbinic Pastor Cantor Lisa Levine, Brookeville, MD. A composer, recording artist, author, and worship artist, Lisa earned her B.A. in Music from the University of California, Irvine, and studied at Hebrew University and the Rubin Academy of Music. She has served as a full-time cantor since her ordination by HUC-JIR DFSSM in 1989. Her catalogue includes 9 CDs, 5 songbooks, numerous compositions, and the book/CD/DVD “Yoga Shalom.” Her poems appear in many publications, including the WRJ (Women of Reform Judaism) Torah Commentary and Lombardy Voices. Lisa serves as a Jewish Social Service Agency chaplain and cantor of Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase. Her most recent CD, “Bridge To Peace,” is inspired by her work in chaplaincy and Jewish Renewal. Lisa shares her life with husband Andy and children Emily and Louis.

Rabbi Jason Mann, Pasadena, CA. Before taking on rabbinic studies, Jason practiced hematology and oncology for 35 years, with training from the University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University Medical School, and Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Hospital. In 2017, he graduated from AOP’s Hashpa’ah Spiritual Direction Program and was ordained as mashpia. Jason works as a spiritual director, chaplain, medical and chaplaincy educator, and service leader in Pasadena. He is blessed to share his life with wife Belle, children Gideon and Elana, and grandchildren Nina, Teo, and Misha.

Hazzan Randall Miller, Ashland, OR. Randall was a family doctor for 30 years, practicing primarily in rural areas, including seven years in Alaska. He has extensive experience in veteran care and has trained doctors and medical staff in the area of veteran health. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Growing up Randall loved singing in synagogue choirs, bringing comfort to communities in the years following Shoah. He sees pursuing the art of hazzanut as an extension of this desire to offer care and healing to the souls of our communities. Randall is married to Rabbi Julie Benioff. They live in beautiful southern Oregon and have four children and two grandsons between them.

Rabbi Ken Rosenstein, Brighton, MA. Ken is a poet, midrashist, and student of Integral Judaism. His book of poetry, “Time, Space, and Soul: Poems for a Renewed Jewish Liturgy,” was published in 2014. He is the co-creator, along with Rachel Eryn Kalish, of the Silver Thread Ritual – a silver thread is attached to the tzitzit symbolizing women’s rights to equal access to the Western Wall – which is archived on and endorsed by Anat Hoffman, a founder of Women of the Wall. Ken has taught workshops at the ALEPH Kallah and was a contributor to the Chaverim Shel Shalom Haggadah. Besides teaching classes and writing poetry and midrashim, he plans to start a blog on Integral Judaism.

Rabbi Betsy Eve Roth, Potomac, MD. Betsy became an olah chadasha after graduating from college and went on to live in Israel for 15 years. After returning to the US, she became involved in The Generation After, Inc., an organization for children of Holocaust survivors, and served a term as its president. She eventually earned an M.A. in Jewish Education from The George Washington University and became education director of a religious school in Virginia. She currently serves as the spiritual leader of Beit Chaverim in Calvert County, MD, and leads services at Beth El of Montgomery County, the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, as well as for the unaffiliated. Betsy and her husband Howard raised two daughters, Jill and Maddy, in Potomac, MD, where they have been living for nearly 30 years.

Rabbi Jessica K. Shimberg, Columbus, OH. Jessica is founding spiritual leader of The Little Minyan Kehillah, an eco-conscious congregation in central Ohio formed in 2005 and affiliated with ALEPH and the Reconstructionist movement. Jessica engages her congregation and others in exploring new connections to the Sacred and to Judaism. A trained mediator and facilitator, as well as a former litigator, she is an active advocate for social and environmental justice, addressing issues concerning the poor, immigrants and refugees, and our Earth through a spiritual lens. She loves the dynamism of interfaith work and is involved with Faith in Public Life, T’ruah, and Ohio Interfaith Power & Light. Jessica’s sons, Ian and Joshua, are becoming adults just as their mother is entering the rabbinate.

Rabbi Ellen K. Triebwasser, Red Hook, NY. Ellen found her spiritual home in Jewish Renewal over 20 years ago. She is a graduate of several training programs, including the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute/DLTI, the Lev Shomea institute in Jewish spiritual direction, and the Kol Zimra training in leading chant and meditation. Ellen was ordained as a maggid/spiritual storyteller by Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum. She was in the first cohort of vatikim/Sage-ing mentors and plans to bring the practices of consciously becoming an elder to as wide an audience as possible. She has recently been asked to help create HaNahar, the Capital District (of New York) Jewish Renewal Chavurah. Ellen lives with her husband Jonah in the beautiful mid-Hudson Valley, where they raised their son, Tom, and daughter, Alison.